NHL Rumors: Bruins, Oilers, Maple Leafs, Sharks, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, what will the Boston Bruins do to address a hole at the second-line center position? The Edmonton Oilers signed a couple of players on the weekend. What is the projection for goaltender Stuart Skinner and forward Brendan Perlini? The San Jose Sharks were apparently told to fix the “Evander Kane problem” so how did it get this out of hand? Finally, will Joe Thornton return to the Toronto Maple Leafs next season? Will he even return to the NHL?

Bruins Second-Line Center Issue, Bergeron Extension

According to Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney remains open to acquiring a center but the plan is to use Charlie Coyle until something opens up on very quiet trade market. With David Krejci out of the picture and headed back to the Czech Republic to finish his playing career, the Bruins are in a bit of a pickle.

Head coach Bruce Cassidy said, “I think the obvious choice is Charlie Coyle. He’s familiar with our guys and I’m familiar with him. That’s the way we’re leaning and we’ll see how the other pieces shake out.”

Charlie Coyle Boston Bruins
Charlie Coyle, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

There was a bit of chatter that the Bruins might target Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak and talk that the club might dangle winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Jakub Zboril as trade bait to land someone to fill the Krejci spot. It appears talks about Dvorak haven’t led anywhere.

In other Bruins news, the team has already begun contract negotiations with Patrice Bergeron and while details of what a new contract might look like aren’t clear, Sweeney did confirm that “it’s a completely open door for how long Patrice wants to play the game for us, and we’ll leave it at that.”

Essentially, the Bruins have told the Bergeron camp to pick a term and let them know how long he wants to keep playing.

Oilers Sign Skinner and Perlini

The Oilers signed two more players this weekend. After locking up Darnell Nurse to a long-term extension that will kick in at the end of next season, the team inked forward Brendan Perlini to a one-year, two-way deal. Then, the organization signed goaltender Stuart Skinner to a two-year, two-way contract extension.

Skinner led the AHL in wins, finished second in GAA, and third in save percentage. His is certainly trending to see work as soon as 2022-23 if something doesn’t pop up earlier. He could play an important role for the Oilers this upcoming season if the goaltending duo of Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith is not upgraded and the tandem either struggles or an injury takes place.

Skinner played extremely well in Bakersfield this past season and went 20-9-1, 2.38 GAA, with a .914 save percentage. He is waiver exempt for the upcoming season.

I noted yesterday the Perlini signing. A bit more info…

Perlini looks to get his NHL career back on track after a season in Europe. He’ll come in and compete for a fourth-line role on the team and has a shot to make the club as a two-time double-digit goal scorer in the NHL. He previously played for Oilers head coach Dave Tippett in Arizona.

Joe Thornton Wants One More Crack at NHL

According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Thornton would like one more kick at an NHL roster and chance to win the Stanley Cup. It’s not clear if the Maple Leafs would have interest as Thornton was not terribly effective in his role, injured and was only mildly productive.

Joe Thornton Toronto Maple Leafs
Joe Thornton, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Simmons writes:

Joe Thornton is skating in Europe, hoping to still play. If anything, he’s an optimist … he Maple Leafs are over the NHL salary cap but don’t have to be cap compliant until next season begins. Makes you wonder which players will be waived in camp or whether Alex Kerfoot will be sent packing to give the Leafs some financial breathing space …

source – ‘SIMMONS SAYS: Canada’s golden Olympic moments will stay with us forever’ – Steve Simmons – Toronto Sun – 08/08/21

Sharks Knew There Was a “Kane Problem”

Also from Simmons: “At least a year ago, maybe longer, someone from the NHL head office instructed someone from the San Jose Sharks to take care of their Evander Kane problem. They thought they had…”

Essentially, Simmons is suggesting the Sharks and the NHL knew Kane’s situation was going to hit front page news and that the organization needed to address things before it got out of hand. Clearly, that wasn’t done properly and the player is said to be on the outs with his teammates, the club is trying to trade and the NHL is now investigating allegations that he placed wagers on Sharks games.